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« Cold Storage for Wind Power | Main | Tesla to Assemble "WhiteStar" Sports Sedan in New Mexico »

February 19, 2007



Wind is touted, but it is encouraging combustion instead.

Hear is my favorite day dream around high voltage DC buried transmission line/1000 mile long supercapacitors.



Coal fired units are slow to bring on line. Gas turbines are fast but expensive to operate. Gas can be used for peak demand or for absence of short term wind. Coal can be for low seasonal wind i.e. extended periods. This will be an interesting system to operate. In the beginning they will likely run a large spinning reserve but given time a large system can really be optimized. What fun. These interesting progects should inspire many to earn an engineering degree. JohnBo


Hi amazingdrx, regarding your comment: "Here is my favorite day dream around high voltage DC buried transmission line/1000 mile long supercapacitors."
This system if far too small for DC transmission and especially for underground. What's a 1000 mile long super capacitor? JohnBo

Ken Potter

I belive the gas based plant for sure is a reflection of the varibility of wind power. What is needed is a cost effective energy storage capibility. The artical on cold storage is an example. If the promised ultra capacitor from EEStor pans out it would be a solution. Until an effctive storage technology becomes available and trusted, Wind can only be a small part of the answer.

Kit P

IMO, Texas is not building wind farms to be politically correct. Texas has been a leader building renewable energy projects, so they have many years of experience. Natural gas and wind is a great mix. Building coal and nuke plants shows that they can also think long term.

Tom Konrad

In response to JohnBo: we can have storage capacity: it's called concentrating solar power with thermal storage (usually molten salt.) By incorporating large thermal storage and a large turbine, a CSP plant can act as dispachable power... at a cost comparable to combined cycle gas turbines. See Shinnar & Citro's article on CSP in Science from October 2006.


"Until an effctive storage technology becomes available and trusted, Wind can only be a small part of the answer."

Not as much of a problem as conventional wisdom (an oxymoron) contends.


Actually we do have effective storage technologies and renewable backup sources like biogas from waste digestion used in solid oxide fuel cell/turbines.

Bruce Frykman

The most important aspect of wind generation is that it is government mandated.

This means that the underlying idea is a bad one. If it were a good idea the utilities would seek to impliment it of their own volition.

The power transmission lines that the greenies used to oppose with such fervent rightousness are now embraced in miles that staggar the imagination. Most of the time thes transmssion lines will be carrying little or no energy but the bird kill and environmental blight will be ever present. These greenies are easily led.

All in all, the utilities cannot lose on this since they can pass off all the costs to the undustrial, commercial, and residential sectors.

The most portable industries will leave and that will mean fewer jobs. Maybe in the end we can all work for the government and then we can all write "mandates" for each other.

Kit P.

The original Texas mandate was relatively small but the windmills that got built proved the economics. More windmills got built, so the polticos took credit my increasing the mandate.

Elsewhere in the US, wind farms were built without mandates. Of course they all depend on the federal PTC.

Ward Miller on Texas electricity

The scale of this project is unprecedented ... I agree! As I drove throught west Texas and then up throught the panhandle of Texas I was amazed at the sheer number of wind turnbines already up and running producing renewable electricity for Texas. It's quite a scene to see thousands and thousands of wind mills as you drive.


Nothing is better than clean energy. We need to find more renewable energy so that we save our planet and our country. When I see what is happening in the North Pole I want to cry. We need to find companies that sell green energy and purchase from them. No matter how much more expensive their electricity is.

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“Interesting post, we shall be following your blog more closely in future! Best Wishes from Automotix”

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That is a really big project that I imagine will take a lot of time and money. I would really like to hear an update on this.

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